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Rajendra @ Rajappa vs. State Of Karnataka - (Supreme Court) (26 Mar 2021)

Minor Contradictions cannot be the basis to discredit witnesses' testimony



Present appeal is filed by the accused aggrieved by the judgment and order of conviction and sentence in Criminal Appeal passed by the High Court. Case was registered against Appellants-¬accused under Sections 143, 147, 148, 324, 326, 307, 302 read with 149 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC).

Unless the view taken by the trial Court is not a possible view, normally the High Court should not interfere with the acquittal recorded by the trial Court. There cannot be any straight¬jacket formula to apply readily for the cases in appeals arising out of acquittal recorded by the trial court. By re-appreciating evidence on record, if appellate court comes to conclusion that findings recorded by the trial court are erroneous and contrary to law, it is always open for the appellate Court, by recording good and compelling reasons for interference and overturn the judgment of acquittal by converting the same to that of conviction.

In present case, it is to be noted that the deceased; PWs¬1 to 3; and accused were closely related. The trial Court has disbelieved the evidence of PWs¬ 1 to 3 only on the ground that, they are relatives of the deceased, forgetting the fact that PW¬1 is the daughter of accused no.1 and PW¬3 is no other than the wife of accused no.1.

If the complaint made by PW¬1 and her testimony are considered along with the injuries found in postmortem report, it makes it clear that the said injuries referred in the postmortem report are attributable to overt acts of the accused nos.2 to 5, as stated in the complaint. PW¬1 has not made any improvements, omission or contradiction, so far as it relates to details of occurrence of the incident in the manner alleged in the complaint – Ex.P¬1 and as deposed by her in the examination ¬in¬ chief. There is absolutely no reason for PW¬3 to depose against her own husband making such serious allegations. If the depositions of PW¬1 to PW¬3 are considered along with the documentary evidence on record and medical evidence of PWs¬10 and 14, it is crystal clear that their evidence is natural, trustworthy and acceptable. The trial Court has disbelieved their testimony by referring to some minor contradictions.

Present Court, in the case of Narayan Chetanram Chaudhary & Anr. v. State of Maharashtra, has considered the minor contradictions in the testimony, while appreciating the evidence in criminal trial. It is held in the said judgment that, only contradictions in material particulars and not minor contradictions can be a ground to discredit the testimony of the witnesses. There is no merit in present appeal, same is accordingly dismissed.


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